Live Review

Tokyo Police Club, Spanish Moon, Baton Rouge, LA

They leave us high on adrenaline but at the same time, centered and thoughtful.

Spanish Moon is a classic college venue. On the edge of the LSU campus, down the street from the Library, it stands there, slightly grungy with brick facades and a florescent sign pointing your way to the indie rock venue in Baton Rouge.

The crowd is an interesting one, chock full of people not just here for headliners Tokyo Police Club, but for both supports Sun Hotel and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin too. College-aged kids with skinny jeans, flannel and hair sprayed and straightened to within an inch of its life.

The first on in this three band line-up are locals Sun Hotel. Based in New Orleans, this five piece lists itself as Gospel Indie Pop, and you can see why they classify themselves as such. Lead vocalist Tyler Scurlock pushes beauty and power into every word he sings, backing it up with intense and slightly manic guitar playing. The mania is infectious. Each member of the band is just as intensely focused on their instruments; at the same time allowing themselves to be truly present on stage. Though most of the melodies tend toward the ambient, they never lose that driving power with the rhythms, pushing the ambience forward, not letting it sit too long or float too far away.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin come on in record time, the show moving along very quickly. From the moment they start to play their infectious poppy sound, the crowd calm down and pay attention. SSLYBY have figured out how to full on reference 1950’s pop songs and put them through a 1980’s filter, yet manage to not sound uninteresting or cheesy: every song sound fresh, new and exciting. Their music feels like sunshine, but when it gets just a bit too hot and uncomfortable a cloud passes over, giving you the relief and space to realize what was so important about the sun.

They’re a hard act to follow, both bands are. In the change over, the crowd become more and more intense, screaming and pushing towards the front. Right at the height of anticipation, Tokyo Police Club came onstage, looking sheepish and excited to play. As soon as they show up, the energy of the crowd surges. Everyone is excited to watch them, and the guys don’t disappoint. In the six years they’ve been playing together, they have grown, become much more at home on the stage. It’s not just the energy packed performance of old; they have a new gravitas on stage, an ease of interaction with each other and the crowd. It shows a level of maturity that’s quite impressive. Dave Monks banters with the audience as Josh Hook and Graham Wright juggle tambourines and look like they’re having a really good time. Their set is one of ups and downs, the classic high energy songs mixed in with ballads, bringing the audience on an emotional rollercoaster that in the end is incredibly satisfying. They leave us high on adrenaline but at the same time, centered and thoughtful. Quite a feat.

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